Cakes Boutique, City Centre – The conflict of power between the royalists, military, business elites and rural supporters of Thaksin Shinawatra is at the height of escalation when Abhisit’s car was broken into and his bodyguards attacked by violent red protesters. Policemen and army troops were apprehensive in containing the anarchic situation.
The suave Thai Prime Minister since then has declared ‘war’ against red shirt protesters in Bangkok and nearby provinces. Its state of emergency decree rules that force may be used against those are involved in gatherings of more than five individuals and it also prohibits illegal media reportage.
Uniformity a Propaganda
These days demonstrators have a predilection for wearing uniformed colours of shirts to emphasize its sense of belonging. The Thai protesters wore red and previously our own local BERSIH rallies bore yellow seas of people.
During the UMNO party elections, supporters sported Hamid Albar masks for its electoral campaigning. Even Altantuya was not let to rest in peace when Pakatan Rakyat protagonists distributed and sold thousands masks of her during the tri-elections.
These group of people bounded by similar causes have effectively made full use of uniformity with the utility of clothes and other paraphernalia. This propaganda methodology was probably inspired by James McTiegue’s “V for Vendetta” where its main character ‘V’ in the end had caused a diaspora of people marching towards revolution in masks and black capes.
Virulence of Uniformity
The effects of uniformity is that it amalgamates a feature of unity, strength and power. Mobsters or supporters are fearless when they know that they belong to a group especially when its numbers are colossal.
Psychologically, uniforms to some extent would alter one’s behaviour into assuming a role-playing in a social context. Judges don robes, students wear school uniform and prisoners wear the ones with numbers on them would act differently than when they put on daily clothes.
Certain appurtenance would incite particular reactions. Perhaps one could compare reactions towards the gears that are equipped to policemen or those of Federal Reserve Unit (FRU) troops.
It could also conjure certain perception like the Altantuya masks that reminded the voters of its ‘conspiracy theory’ which links the current Prime Minister to her case. This is of course a provocation of angst and distrust.
The prevalence of red dissidents since a few months ago in important cities of Thailand now are having public citizens and tourists scrambling out of town for fear of violence and chaos. Waning public fears of sights of red shirts in open gatherings would take time. Well unless if it is the Chinese New Year Celebrations.